The school bus community has been saying for years that school bus service is tied to student success. While there have been no direct studies, there is certainly enough ancillary academic articles and stories that highlight the impact school bus service has on attendance—and in turn—student achievement.
Regrettably, all of the school bus service cuts we are seeing across the country have given us ample opportunity to finally assess the impact of school bus service on truancy and student success.
One such opportunity appeared yesterday from WBIR News out of Knoxville, Tennessee. If you follow ASBC on Facebook, you know that Union County, TN ceased school bus service this past Monday due to budget shortfalls. Well, as we expected, by Tuesday, Union County schools were seeing massive spikes in absenteeism due to the elimination of school bus service. According to Union County Supervisor of Instruction Susan Oaks, absentee rates have gone from 5.5% to 18%!
The American School Bus Council believes that pupil transportation is a vital part of our education system. Stories such as the problems in Union County, TN reaffirm our efforts to make student transportation available for every student.
As always, please feel free to use ASBC’s resources to promote school bus ridership in your area. Only through working together as a community of school bus advocates can we hope to stop further cuts to school bus service and help students succeed.